The Enchanted Bridle.

A Legendary Ballad.

[The legend upon which this ballad is founded is well known in Ayr-
shire. It is briefly as follows: Sir Fergus of Ardrossan, otherwise
known as the “deil o’ Ardrossan,” procured, through Satanic agency, a
bridle which enabled him to perform wonderful feats on horseback.
Having on one occasion to go from home, he charged his wife not to
allow their son to use the enchanted bridle; this injunction, however,
was not obeyed. The wayward youth mounted his father’s steed, rode
off, and was afterwards thrown from the saddle and killed on the spot.
On his return, Sir Fergus slew his wife in a fit of rage, and subsequently
retired to Arran, where he passed the remainder of his days in solitude.]


Get up, get up, my merrie young men,1
And saddle my guid bay steed ;2
For I maun ride to St. Mirren’s Kirk,3
And the time draws on wi’ speed.”4
Then up and spak his bonnie young wife :5
What for suld ye gang there ?6
’Tis past the hour for vesper sang,7
’Tis past the time for prayer.”8
Then up and spak his only son :9
I hear the sad sea’s maen ;10
O think on the mirk and eerie night,11
O think on the wind and rain.12
The shore is wild, the glen is deep,13
The moor is rough and hie ;14
And he who rides on sic a night15
Suld hae guid companie.”16
Ye speak but true, my bonnie young wife,17
The time o’ prayer is bye ;18
Ye speak but true, my only son,19
The wind and waves are high.20
The shore is wild, the glen is deep,21
The moor is cauld and wide ;22
But I hae a tryst at St. Mirren’s Kirk,23
And I trow I downa bide.”24
He mounted on his strang bay steed,25
Nor dreamed o’ rain or wind ;26
The lanesome whaup cried on before,27
The houlet screamed behind.28
Speed on, speed on, my guid bay mare,29
Nor heed that melodie ;30
’Tis but the sang o’ the lone mermaid,31
As she sings to the wintry sea.32
Haud up, haud up, my bonnie bay steed,33
Till ye wun to bank or brae ;34
For the wan water o’ Fairlie burn35
I trow has tint its way.”36
The thunder brattled wi’ eerie thud,37
As he rade ower the moor o’ Kame ;38
But when he cam to the Baidland hill,39
The lichtnin’ spell’d his name.40
When he gaed by the mountain tarn,41
And through the Biglee moss,42
He saw a lowe on St. Mirren’s Kirk,43
Abune the guid stane cross.44
And when he cam,to the auld kirkyaird,45
Wow ! but he shook wi’ dread ;46
For there was a ring o’ seven witches47
A’ dancin’ abune the dead.48
There were twa grim hags frae Saltcoats toon,49
And twa frae the Kirk o’ Shotts,50
And twa cam ower frae the Brig o’ Turk,51
And ane frae John o’ Groats.52
O wha was he in that hellish ring53
Wi’ buckles abune his knee ?54
He was clad in a garb o’ guid braidclaith,—55
I’se warrant the Deil was he !56
And aye he keckled, and aye he flang,57
As the hags gaed merrilie round,58
Till the frightened banes i’ the kirkyaird mool59
Lap up through the quaking ground,60
Then by cam a muckle cormorant,61
And it jowed the auld kirk bell ;62
The lowe gaed out, the witches fled,63
And the Deil stood by himsel’.64
The wind blew up, and the wind blew doon,65
Till it fell’d an auld ash-tree ;66
And the Deil cam ower to the kirkyaird yett,67
And he bow’d richt courteouslie.68
O cam ye here to be purged or shriven,69
Or cam ye here to pray ?”70
O I cam here for the bonnie bridle71
Ye promised me yesterday.72
I wad ride on the back o’ the nor’-east wind ;73
I wad prance through driving storm ;74
And I wad own the guid bridle75
That wad keep me aye frae harm.”76
Gin I gie you the gift ye seek77
O what will you gie me ?78
Gin I gie you the bonnie bridle,79
O what sal be my fee ?”80
I am chief o’ the knights o’ Cunninghame ;81
I am laird o’ the green Cumbray ;82
And I’ll gie you a bonnie white doo83
When ye pass by that way.”84
He is aff on the wings o’ the nor’-east wind,85
Wi’ a speed that nane may learn ;86
He has struck red fire frae the black Kame hill,87
And flash’d ower the Baidland cairn.88
And aye he shook his strange bridle,89
And aye he laughed wi’ glee,90
As his wild steed danced doon the mountain-side91
Uncheck’d by rock or tree.92
O up and see this eerie sicht !”93
Cried a shepherd in Crosby glen ;94
But as he spak the swift bay steed95
Had pass’d ayont his ken.96
O up and see this wild horseman,97
And his horse wi’ the clankin’ shoon !”98
But ere the eye could be turned to look99
He had clanged through Ardrossan toon.100
And aye he rade, and aye he laughed,101
And shook his bridle grim ;102
For there wasna a rider in a’ the land,103
Could ever keep sicht o’ him.104


Get up, get up, my merrie young men,105
Get up my sailors gay ;106
For I wad sail in my bonnie white boat,107
To the shores o’ fair Cumbray.”108
He set his face to the saut, saut sea,109
He turned his back to land ;110
And he sang a lilt o’ a guid luve-lay,111
As he gaed doon the strand.112
He hadna been a league frae shore,113
A league but barely three ;114
When oot and spak his only son :115
Send my guid page to me.116
Now saddle me fast my father’s steed,117
Put his new bridle on :118
For I maun ride to Portincross119
Before the licht is gone.”120
Then up and spak his young mother :121
My son, that maunna be ;122
The rocks are high, the steed is wild,123
And I fear the gurly sea.124
I dream’d a dolefu’ dream yestreen,125
And grat till my een were blin’;126
O if ye ride that wild bay steed,127
I fear ye’ll ne’er come in.”128
Come cheer ye up, my mother dear,129
Fause dreams ye maunna dree ;130
What gies sic joy to my father’s heart,131
Will no bring grief to me.”132
Now he has mounted the bonnie bay steed,133
And he has seized the rein ;134
Cheer up, cheer up, my sweet mother,135
Till I come back again.”136
The first mile that he rade alang,137
His een were lit wi’ glee ;138
The second mile that he rade alang,139
His heart beat merrilie.140
The third mile that he rade alang,141
His feet danced in his shoon ;142
And ere the fourth mile he had rade143
His brain gaed whirling roon’.144
He flang the reins frae oot his han’—145
The steed gaed briskly on,146
Ower rock and fen, ower moor and glen,147
By loch and mountain lone.148
The sun blink’d merrily in the lift;149
Pearls gleam’d on ilka tree ; 150
The bonniest hues o’ rainbow licht151
Were flickerin’ on the sea.152
O sweet is the smile o’ the opening rose,153
And sweet is the full-blawn pea ;154
And sweet, sweet to the youthfw’ sense,155
Were the ferlies he did see156
Fair forms skipped merrily by his side,—157
The gauze o’ goud they wore ;158
But the blythest queen o’ a’ the train159
Danced wantonly on before.160
Come here, come here, my bonnie young May,161
Sae sweet as I hear ye sing ;162
Come here, come here, my ain true luve,163
And I’ll gie ye a pearlie ring.”164
He urged the steed wi’ his prickly heel,165
Till the red blude stained her side ;166
But he ne’er could reach that fause young May167
Sae fast as he might ride.168
He rade and rade ower the wide countrie,169
Till mirth gave place to pain ;170
The sun dropp’d into the cauld, cauld sea,171
And the sky grew black wi’ rain.172
Haud in, haud in, my guid bay steed,173
Sae fast as ye seem to flee ;174
I hear the voice o’ my dear mother,175
As she greets at hame for me.176
O halt ye, halt ! my bonnie bay steed,177
There’s dule by the sounding shore ;178
Nae pity dwells in the bleak, bleak waves,179
Sae loud as I hear them roar.180
O help me, help! my sweet mother ;181
Come father and succour me !”182
But the only voice in the lone mirk nicht183
Was the roar o’ the grewsome sea.184
He has lookit east, he has lookit wast,185
He has peer’d through the blinding hail ;186
But the only licht on the wide waters,187
Was the gleam o’ his father’s sail.188
He has lookit north, he has lookit south,189
To see where help might be ;190
But the wild steed leapt ower the black headland191
And sank in the ruthless sea !192


O when his father reached the shore,193
Sair did he greet and maen,194
When he thought on the fair young face195
He ne’er might see again.196
Come back, come back, my bonnie young son,197
Come back and speak to me !”198
But he only heard thro’ the grey, grey licht199
The sough o’ the pitiless sea.200
O gie mea kiss o’ his red, red lips,201
Or a lock o’ his gouden hair !”202
But the heartless wind, wi’ an eldritch soun’,203
Aye mocked at his despair.204
O cauld was the bite o’ the plashing rain,205
And loud was the tempest’s roar ;206
And deep was the grief o’ the father’s heart207
As he stood by the hopeless shore.208
Wae, wae on my tryst at St. Mirren’s Kirk,209
That bargain I sairly rue,210
When I took ower the Deil’s bridle211
And sold my bonnie white doo !”212